variance, vince accardi, winning on the punt

Vince Accardi pioneered the precise digital timing of every runner in Australian horse racing. He uses advanced streaming technology to get true sectional splits of each horse right throughout the race and compare these to benchmarks for that distance at that track. Accardi’s work is used by stewards, handicappers, media pundits and punters.

Vince Accardi on… official times

The official time posted by the racing clubs for almost every race is incorrect. Many of those errors are marginal, but when one length is the equivalent of .16 or .17 of a second they don’t have to be out by much to be misleading to those who trust them. 

Vince Accardi on… clocking races from a TV

Trying to time the race off race replays is not accurate due to footage being compressed to a lower resolution by the TV production company.

Vince Accardi on… closing sectionals

Being fixated on closing sectionals (last 200/400/600 for example) is not the way to go. Far too little importance is placed on the early sectionals and pace through the first two-thirds of the race. Some horses that go far too fast early can be forgiven for puncturing late but are often dismissed by the market next start. If they can get a softer on-pace run next start they can perform well above the expectations of the general punting public.

Horses decelerate at the finish. The everyday punter assumes that the closing sectional is the fastest of the race but often that’s not the case.

When assessing a late burst, be sure to factor in what happened early. Use the first 400m measure to get clarity on the speed of the race and then use it to judge the merit of a late finishing burst. That is the critical key in assessing the late finishing performance of a horse.

Form analysts looking only at the overall time and last 600m are missing about 75% of the value you can get from time information.

The eye can lie. What looks to be an impressive win to the naked eye may be far less so when you can assess exactly how fast they’ve gone throughout the whole race. 

Horses that can do it at both ends are great betting propositions. When you can find a horse that has good early speed but can also finish off, then you know you are looking at something potentially exciting.

Vince Accardi on… forgive runs

A big effort that is impressive to the eye and in terms of times may leave a horse flat next start, especially if it comes early in the horse’s preparation. Don’t jump off these horses after one bad run because they can often bounce back at their second start after a gut buster.

Vince Accardi on… raw data versus adjustments

Trust your raw data instead of making too many bonuses for luck in running, which is often over-emphasised. Factor in the bonus or penalty when you are assessing a horse in its next race, but leave the raw data ‘true’.

Vince Accardi on… horse speed profile

I feel one of the big tools that I’ve learned from a sectional times perspective is the profiling. It’s understanding the profile of a horse. Do they like a fast pace or a slow pace? Are they one pace runners? Are they horses that have multiple sprints in their armor? That’s the key aspect that I like, to first and foremost hone in on from a sectional time’s perspective.

When doing the form really place an emphasis on finding horses in races that will be run to suit. That factor is even more important than whether the horse is good enough to win the race.

I love horses that run on speed, but on speed with a caveat. The caveat is understanding the profile of that particular runner because if they go to the lead and they are a one-pace runner, and they go at a moderate tempo, most of those horses get beat. What’s crucial is will happens when they get to a sprint, which usually takes place anywhere between the 800 and the 400 metre mark. But they’re one-pace runners that just sort of cruise at one particular speed. If they don’t already have enough break on the field, they’ll usually get run down because they don’t have a sprint. They don’t have gears.

Vince Accardi on… the greats

Black Caviar’s huge advantage was her stride pattern. She took one less stride per 100m than her competitors. It gave her an enormous edge in every race she contested.

All of the data suggested Black Caviar had two to three lengths on Frankel.

So You Think could be identified as a world-class horse after just one run as a two-year-old. He was ten lengths above the all-age average for that track and distance.

Vince Accardi on… race distance

Staying types need sprinting capability, because that acceleration is what separates them from other stayers. And assessing sectional times in staying races are just as important as for sprints. Good milers and stayers need to be able to produce very good 1000m splits.

On-pacers going up in distance can be a great betting proposition. Especially if the horse went really hard last start and are now in a race with little pace. They can conserve so much energy in the first half of the race that they are impossible to get past.

Vince Accardi on… benchmarking

Benchmark all runners on the day. Compare all of the runners across all of the races. Don’t worry yourself with the supposed class of the race. Look at the top performers on the day and try to find those worth following into their preparation. Horses that have had maybe one or two runs this preparation or are looking for more ground are often worth following.

Vince Accardi on… tracks

Don’t assume that a Soft 5 is actually a Soft 5 throughout the entire width and circumference of the course. Certain sections of the track may be a lot closer to Good or even Heavy

We only recently had a race where a major course had all sorts of problems for the first time. If you were on pace you couldn’t win.  Loking at the sectional times, it was discovered that a section between the 400 and the 600 metre mark was several lengths slower. That had a huge impact on horses hitting the line hard. And that makes a big difference about the way you approach your form in a genuine way, and whether you should or shouldn’t omit a horse based on that run.

How that’s picked up generally is the horses have been timed pretty much straight after each race. The data flows through and gives you a preamble of how that track’s playing.

Vince Accardi on… backmarkers

If a backmarker has fallen six lengths off the speed, they can still win if there’s good speed. But if it’s a big field and the backmarkers are 15 lengths off the speed, they virtually have no hope. We typically see a horse and think, “but he was ninth in running, so that means he was a backmarker.” But he might have only been five lengths off the speed. Well, that’s a winning position still, if there’s good speed. That’s probably a great spot to be! But if you’re a backmarker and you’re running ninth of 12 horses, and you’re 14 lengths off the speed? You have no hope.

Even if it’s a cracking pace, you’re too far back. Very few horses make it that far back and they’re probably the worst betting medium. So the definition of backmarker… backmarker in which respect? How many lengths from the lead pace are they at the 800m?  That’s what I call a backmarker.

Vince Accardi on… weight

There’s no data that the weight does have an impact on the acceleration of horses. It’s like when they go from 55 or 56 kilos and all of a sudden they gotta carry 58 or 59 kilos, it does impact the sprint. Of course it’s dependent on the distance and dependent on other qualifications. When horses are up high in the weight, 58 or 59, I notice that it impacts their speed. It’s very important that those horses not over exerted early. Not so much over 1100 metres, but once we start getting up to 1200m-plus range, it does play a role.

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